Science Journey: "Journey to the Center of Jupiter"
- Public Event
Benjamin Idini, PhD student in planetary geophysics
The world that we call home was, once upon a long time ago, a cold nebular cloud of gas and dust. Most of the celestial objects that are familiar to us formed and evolved from that cloud, including the sun, Earth, and the other planets in our solar system. During the solar system's formation, the gas giant Jupiter captured most of the available material to produce planets. Scientists at Caltech and elsewhere work to decipher the events leading to the formation, evolution, and current structure of Jupiter in an attempt to extract fundamental lessons of planet formation. General lessons obtained from Jupiter help us understand the formation of the increasing number of planets that we can observe orbiting stars beyond our solar system. But perhaps of even more relevance, the dominant mass of Jupiter defines the formation and the current environment of the rest of the planets in our solar system, including our own very special planet Earth. Consequently, scientists concentrate on Jupiter in an attempt to find clues to understand what makes our solar system so special. After all, our solar system remains the only planetary system where we have observed life as we know it. In this presentation, Idini will travel to the center of Jupiter in a journey that will take us from the visible zonal winds and the Great Red Spot to the planet's hidden, deeply settled core.